Request for Proposals - Pre-Harvest Beef Safety Research 

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, is soliciting research proposals in the area of Pre-Harvest Beef Safety Research covering these applied and basic science topics for FY 2024: 

Original Scientific Research: 
  • Investigate harbors of pathogens of public health interest in cattle, beyond lymph nodes and GI tract, that may impact final product safety. 
  • Investigate the microbiome of beef lymph nodes and key associations to pathogens of public health interest.
  • Investigate the association between Salmonella carriage in lymph nodes and other locations within the beef animal that may impact carcass, primal/subprimal or trim contamination. 
  • Assess the impact of environment or feed ingredient level contamination on detection of pathogens of public health interest within the beef animal, carcass, primal/subprimal or trim.

Research ideas should be novel, applicable to the industry, and have a high potential impact. The primary objective of all projects must be related to improving beef safety (not beef production or cattle health or product testing).  Basic research proposals should provide key learning to industry challenges. Collaboration is strongly encouraged where relevant. Budgets for research trials will be evaluated based on the scope and methodology of the submitted proposal. Funding priority will be focused on an assessment of information received from industry partners. 

Important Dates for Original Scientific Research

  • Proposal Submission Date: June 30th, 2023 
  • Funding Notifications: Late Fall 
  • Budget limit:  $200,000 
  • Project Start Date: As early as January 2024 
  • Project Completion Date: no later than May 2025**

**The line item for student and support staff funding must be 12 months or less. 

Existing Research Assessment: Gap analysis, meta-analyses, existing data analysis or modeling: 
  • Assess antibiotic or alternatives use and cattle microbiome on potential pathogens of public health interest. 
  • Assess the relationship between cattle disease and circulating pathogens of public health interest within/on the animal, carcass or end product. 
  • Assess the literature on emerging pathogens of public health interest that have potential to be associated with beef.
  • Assess the impact of Salmonella infection in cattle at various life stages and long-term likelihood of Salmonella carriage at harvest and final product safety. 
  • Assess the relationship between Salmonella and other organisms in cattle that can impact survivability of Salmonella within the animal, carcass or on/in final product, with a focus on serovars of public health interest. 
  • Assess pre-harvest methods of detection for Salmonella or other pathogens of public health interest via unique sampling methods beyond fecal or lymph node samples at harvest.


  • Proposal Submission Date: June 30, 2023  
  • Funding Notifications: Late Fall  
  • Budget limit:  $10,000  
  • Project timeline shuld be 12 months or less


Proposals must meet the submission deadline and follow the guidelines in this RFP to be considered. Accepted projects will be funded (or funded in part) by the Beef Checkoff.

Research objectives should be clearly defined, and proposals should clearly state their relevance and potential benefit to the beef industry. Leveraged funding through collaborations with industry, foundations, government, and other sources with matching funds is encouraged. In addition, collaboration with additional researchers or institutions is encouraged where appropriate. 

PIs may submit more than one proposal. A CV is not required. 

Questions related to this RFP should be directed to Mandy Carr ([email protected]).  

PROPOSALS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY JUNE 30, 2023 at 11:59 pm EST via the BeefGrants system. 

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, has moved to an online portal, BeefGrants, for managing the grant process and to facilitate the submission and review of grant materials. All portal users will need to set up an account. Please visit BeefGrants to register and submit a proposal. 

Proposal Outline

The following fields will be required in BeefGrants (word counts apply for some categories): 

  • Applicant Information 
    • Organization Information
    • Researcher Information 
    • Institution Grant Administration Contact Details 
  • Application Summary
    • Project Title
    • Proposed start and end date
  • Project Details
    • Project Background & Hypothesis (include a brief background for the idea and an explanation of how you determined the hypothesis that serves as the basis for the project idea ~650 words maximum)
    • Objectives 
    • Total Time for Completion (in months) (auto-calculated from Application Summary fields)
    • Proposal methodology and experimental design.
    • Describe the practical application and benefit of the research for use in the beef industry. 
  • Detailed Budget Table 
    • The line item for student and support staff funding must be 12 months or less.
  • Other Sources of Support/Co-funding (optional) 
  • Supporting Documents/CV (optional)

Publication Costs 

Publication of all research is expected regardless of the outcome, however financial support for manuscript publication is considered separate from research contracts.  Once your project is completed and the final report is submitted, please reach out to NCBA staff to receive more information on the new publishing guidance.

Additional Detail 

PIs should review completed Beef Safety projects to avoid submitting an idea that already has been covered. Completed project summaries are available here

We understand that PIs do not know the nature of ongoing research projects. However, a list of ongoing projects cannot be made available due to contracting sensitivities. Please understand this limitation and use your best judgment to submit proposals that are both novel and relevant.  If you have questions, please reach out.

Project Deliverables

Project deliverables will include, at minimum, a final technical report with a full listing of research results and implications, and an abbreviated executive summary highlighting key points from the full technical report. Final technical reports must follow a standard outline and be thorough and interpretive in nature.

Deliverables will also include a final statement outlining all project expenditures from the institution’s business office. Funds cannot be spent beyond the project end date established in the project contract. 

Deliverables will be due on or before the project end date established in the contract.

Review Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated for: clearly defined hypothesis and objectives, experimental design/methods, and convincing evidence that the proposed research will change the concepts, methods, or technologies that drive this field. Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of independent industry experts, and applicants will be notified of funding decisions Late Fall. 


We are aware that academic institutions have financial obligations for administering the research grants awarded to their faculty members. However, overhead costs, principal investigator salaries, tuition, and equipment purchases will not be considered as part of the funds made available for this research.